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Hot Rock, The

An acknowledged classic of the comedy caper genre, with Robert Redford assembling the requisite team of contrasting personalities (nutty mechanic, taciturn explosives man etc.) for the righteous liberation of a sacred African gem from the Brooklyn Museum. The initial diversion – nutso mechanic fakes a spectacular car crash in front of the museum to tempt the guards away from their post, aided by gang member George Segal as a phoney medic – is textbook stuff, as is the inevitable cock-up – Segal (now dressed as a security guard) ends up trapped inside the hefty display case surrounding the jewel, and calls on real security guards to help. After a period in prison (and a marvellous cameo by Zero Mostel as the explosives expert’s lawyer) the gang find themselves in a position similar to that of Sid James in Brit ‘Carry on Heisting’ flick The Big Job, when they discover said bombsmith, who swallowed the jewel in the museum, has left it hidden in the police station, precipitating another tables-turned heist. Screenwriting pastmaster William Goldman was responsible for the script of this little gem, and it goes to show how much the caper comedy relies on multiple plot reversals and revelations to keep the constant donning-of-disguises and crawling-through-air-ducts action fresh.

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  1. THX 1139

    April 11, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Not just a top heist caper, but worth seeing for the awestruck, long helicopter journey around the almost completed World Trade Center. Better this than that Limp Bizkit video any day.

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